Geology is the study of the earth and its history.

The department offers both the Bachelor of Science and the Bachelor of Arts degree. The B.S. degree is designed to meet the needs of students who wish to become practicing geologists or environmental geoscientists, or who wish to pursue graduate degrees in the geosciences. One may pursue either a geology or an environmental geosciences track in the B.S. program. The A.B., in the tradition of liberal arts education, is designed to maximize flexibility for students who wish to study geology. The A.B. also is an ideal degree for students pursuing a double major; recent graduates have combined geology with areas such as Government and Law (environmental law), International Affairs, Economics (environmental management), and Chemistry among others.

The curriculum and the interests of the faculty span a wide range of topics from sedimentology, paleobiology, climate change, and geomorphology to geophysics, geochemistry, and earth materials. Field and laboratory work are integral parts of the curriculum and many opportunities exist for cooperative student-faculty research. Students have traveled as far as Alaska, Nevada, Mexico, Illinois and Cambridge, England, to perform cooperative research with Lafayette faculty, and many excellent projects also are available locally.

The Geology Department has multiple awards which highlight student achievement.  The awards are:

The James L. Dyson Scholarship Prize is given to a junior major for a summer field experience in geology, usually a summer field camp.

The Arthur Montgomery Award is given to a student of high academic achievement whose leadership and participation has contributed to the geology community at Lafayette College.

The Ted  and Georgia Metropolis Prize in Geology  is awarded to a junior or senior Geology major who has exhibited high academic achievement  and demonstrated enthusiasm for geology and environmental geosciences both inside and outside the classroom and through service.

The Guy and Joyce Hovis Award in Geology is awarded annually to a student majoring in geology and environmental geosciences who, by dedicated effort in a rigorous academic program, has achieved distinction in science and math throughout his/her academic career, or who has come to achieve such distinction through steady improvement. This award is given to a student who is seen by faculty as a potential partner in collaborative geoscience research or in recognition of research already accomplished.

The Germanoski Student Award in Earth and Environmental Sciences is awarded annually to a student majoring in Geology or Environmental Science who achieves high academic standing through hard work and diligence and who demonstrates a particular interest in environmental systems, earth surface processes, or hydrogeology.



Students in the B.S. Degree–Environmental Geosciences track are required to take 11 courses including two 100-level geology courses, one each from Physical Geology (100, 110, 120, 160) and Earth History (115, 130, 160); Geology 200, 205 or 315, 210, 215, 300, 307, 317, 322, and one environmental elective approved by the department.

Students in the B.S. Degree–Geology track are required to take 11 courses including two 100-level geology courses, one each from Physical Geology (100, 110, 120, 150, 160, 170, 180) and Earth History (115, 130, 160) with no more than one 100-level interim course counting as either the Physical or Earth History course; Geology 200, 205 or 315, 215, 300, 307, 317 and three technical electives from an approved department; with at least one geology course at 200-level or above and no more than one approved 100-level course.

Both B.S. tracks also require mathematics (two courses) 125 and 186, or 161 and 162, or 161 and 186, Chemistry 107  and 108 (Formerly 121 and 122)(or Chemistry 107 and Geology 321), Physics 111 or 131 or 151, and the Common Course of Study.

Students in the A.B. Degree program, in addition to fulfilling requirements in the Common Course of Study, are required to take nine courses including two 100-level geology courses, one course each from Physical Geology (100, 110, 120, 160) and Earth History (115, 130, 160); Geology 200; and six additional Geology courses, at least five of which are 200-level or above including at least two at the 300 level. The six electives must include at least one from each of the following subareas: Solid Earth (307, 317, 321, 322), Earth’s Surface (210, 215, 229, 300), and Atmosphere/Ocean/Biosphere (205, 315, 320).

Requirements for the Minor

  • A minor in geology requires five geology courses, at least three of which must be 200-level or above.
  • Additional geology courses may be found under Interim Session.
  • Geology majors must have specific permission of the instructor to take 100-level geology courses during the senior year.